Summer is headed this way, and along with it a slew of summer treat- ice cream, ice pops, slushies, s’mores, cold drinks ect. And with those treats? Well, enough to turn a real foodie’s hair grey:
- Antifreeze in Icecream
- Nasty artificial dyes in just about every popsicle and most kinds of ice creams
- Artificial and “Natural” (HA… that’s a good one) flavorings
And, who can forget food manufacturers FAVORITE sweetener? The obesity-inducing, genetically-modified, health-derailing:
Of course, that just is the tip of the iceberg, but it’s enough for me to look towards more natural sweets for my family. So, I’ve been on a mission to collect (and develop) several YUMMY recipes for delicious summer treats. Many of them are sweetened with natural sugars, such as honey (or easily can be) while others actually don’t have added sugar. The reason I included so many without added sugar is because we are currently not able to have sugar (due to an elimination diet) and all the foods we can have taste fresher and sweeter. I think natural sugar is fine, and even healthy, is reasonable amounts, but like to have no-sugar-added sweets since eating too much sugar is quite terrible for you.
Since I currently have the limitations of no dairy, eggs, or sugar I have marked recipes that are friendly towards some dietary restrictions. Sugar free (fruit based) recipes are marked with an *, dairy free with a +, and egg free with a ~.
image by tuareq
What good is summer without refreshing drinks? Ok, so maybe it is perfectly fine, but I love me some refreshing drinks.
~+*Refrigerator Iced Tea – I love to make mint tea this way! Make tea without heating up your kitchen! I think it is beautifully refreshing without added sugar, but you can add some honey for a bit of sweetness. I used to drink my tea sweet, but have lost the taste for it.
~+Honey Lemonade- Seriously yummy! And, it is super simple. Yes, I sometimes use bottled lemon juice also. Not ideal, but it works.
~+Homemade Gingerale– Stacy from Stacy Makes Cents shows how to make homemade honey sweetened Ginger Ale. This recipe really intrigues me! Ginger is so refreshing, I think this would be a perfect way to cool off.
~+Kombucha- Kombucha is praised as a very refreshing drink on several of my favorite blogs. I currently have a dried Kombucha SCOBY in my fridge, waiting for my bravery to increase, and for me to find organic white sugar on sale. Kate has some good tips on making it, as well as some ways to flavor it. I hope to enjoy it this summer. (Note from Kate: Check out my new kombucha video and FREE ebook for subscribers if you want to learn more!)
~+*Homemade Coconut Milk- If you have never had homemade coconut milk, you really should try it! I love the richness you get from the canned variety, but it also has a metallic taste (too strong to drink plain) and is super expensive. Unfortunately, it does not refrigerate well (the oils solidify on the top) so drink it fresh. You can add ice while blending it to make it cold. Mmm…wish I had some dried coconut in the house.
Smoothies are super foods. They really are. They are tasty. They are easy. They are very easy to sweeten with either honey or maple syrup, or if they have the right fruits added sugar is unnecessary. They almost always have probiotic foods such as yogurt or kefir. So, break out the blender and make your whole family smile.
Orange Julius – I will refrain to tell you how many times I made this within a month of discovering the recipe. Because it was embarrassing, and I did not keep track. Boy is it good! I have also successfully made it with kefir, it just needs a tiny bit more sugar. As soon as I can have oranges again, I will be making this. Maybe I should not be writing about sweets and treats while I can’t have sugar and so near dinner time… moving right along.
~+Pina Colada Smoothie (alcohol free)- I made this to be a good source of healthy fats ( coconut oil in this case), but beyond that it is a super delicious smoothie. I mean how wrong can you go with pineapple, lime, banana, and coconut?
Smoothie Base- Fruit smoothies are a great way to get fruit, and probiotics, into your daily diet. Here Stacy from Stacy Makes Cents shows how to make a smoothie base, so you can easily make fruit smoothies without dirtying up your blender each time.
~+*Minty Green Smoothie- Green smoothies scared me for a LONG time. A LONG time. Did I mention I refused to eat them for a LONG time? After making this recipe though, I have NO IDEA why. Last summer I got mint from the Farmer’s Market every week, with this in mind.
~+*Banana Sweetened Smoothie- here is a fruit smoothie without any added sugar. I’ve never tried this recipe specifically, but I do a similar thing all the time.
Who does not love ice cream? Here are some recipes for icecream, without antifreeze. Yeah.
Homemade, Naturally Sweetened, Ice Cream– This is a basic ice cream mixture using either honey or maple syrup.
No- churn Cinnamon Honey Ice Cream– No ice cream machine? Never fear. Here is a recipe that does not need one. I will be trying ot asap, but I still want an ice cream machine at some point. At the end of the recipes there are suggestions on how to do different flavors.
~+*Breakfast “Ice Cream” – No, this is not really ice cream. But, it is super delicious. I love the basil in this recipe.
~+*Banana “Ice Cream”– You’ve probably already seen this since it was all the health rage last summer, but if not you can make “ice cream” with just bananas, supposedly you can also add cocoa powder for chocolate icecream.
Other Frozen Treats
Because, summer treats should be cold. And that’s the truth!
+~*Pineapple Slushy– Here I show you how to turn a pineapple into a fantastic slushy style treat.
~Frozen Yogurt Drops– When I saw this I thought “How have I never thought of that before?” Simple, but brilliant, these would definitely put the smile on my son. And me. And Mark. The recipe calls for “Yoplait,” but you can make it with homemade honey sweetened yogurt, or at least full fat plain yogurt you sweeten yourself.
+*~Fruit Pops– I felt kind of silly writing a post about this, but as delicious as frozen fruit is, adding a popsicle stick makes them that much more exciting.
+*~Homemade Popsicle– Making fruit based iced pops is a cinch.
image by michiru_
Other Fruit Based Treats
~+*Berries (or any fruit) and Cream- Berries are delicious eaten as, but homemade whipped cream takes them to a whole new level. Simply put a dollop of cream on your favorite fresh or frozen fruit. You can leave out the sugar from the cream, if you’d like, but I prefer it slightly sweetened. If you need it dairy free, you can whip coconut cream with these simple instructions.
~+ Blackberry Cream Gelatin– I plan on making something like this for my daughters first birthday! Possible with whipped cream, or coconut cream on top. I can’t wait for my beef gelatin to arrive! Since she’s kind of small so does not quite seem ready for honey, I will probably be using maple syrup instead of honey.
This summer classic is awesome enough to have it’s own category.
~+Honey Sweetened Marshmallows– Have you ever tried making homemade marshmallows? It might sound intimidating but they aren’t complicated in the least. Their taste and texture is leap years beyond it’s store bought,
impersonator version. At some point this summer I will be roasting homemade marshmallows. Honestly, I don’t know if I will be motivated enough to make my own chocolate or graham crackers, but I like to think I would be!
+Whole Wheat Graham Crackers – This recipe really looks simple to execute, I made graham crackers once and was not pleased with the results but these look scrumptious. To make it even healthier use sucanat instead of regular brown sugar.
+~Honey Sweetened Chocolate – Another recipe I can not wait to try out. I love chocolate, but it’s hard to find it without soy lecithin, and naturally sweetened (at least that I can afford!).
I hope this inspires you to head the the kitchen for some healthy summer treats. I know I’m ready to dig in. In fact, I already have some ice pops in the freezer! No need for tons of refined sugar, artificial colors, antifreeze, and “natural” flavors to be present in our favorite summer treats!
Now it is your turn. What are some of your favorite healthy summer treats?
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